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Letter 20 is the twentieth letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.


This letter was a reply to C.A. Furth of Allen & Unwin who had written to tell Tolkien about a minor crisis at the publishers' precipitated by the volume of Christmas orders for The Hobbit. Tolkien thanked Mr. Furth for his letter and for the copies of The Hobbit he had received as requested. He discussed some emendations he would like made to text of the next edition, fixing some errors that had been pointed out to him by 'humble hobbit-fancier' Mr. Arthur Ransome (the inappropriate use of man/men to refer to hobbits and dwarves in a few places).[note 1]

Of chief 'historical' interest is the closing line:

"I have written the first chapter of a new story about Hobbits – 'A long expected party'. A merry Christmas."


An additional paragraph from the letter and a reproduction of the second page appeared in the booklet The Hobbit 50th Anniversary edition (cf. Letter to Charles Furth (19 December 1937)).

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